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Splinter Cell
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Civ palaceWhen Microprose published Civilization back in 1992, there were some who thought that it didn't come up to the board game it was losely based upon and was a mere copy of its game design. The initial criticism quickly dissipated, however, once the game had been installed and played for half an hour, since then the game developed its unparalleled addiction that didn't let go before you hadn't led your people to glory and supremacy. Sid Meier had struck again. By the way, the screenshots are taken from Civilization 2.
Building an Empire:
The subtitle "Build An Empire To Stand The Test Of Time" described well enough the epic dimension of this strategy classic. You had to guide your people from the year 4000 B.C. to the year 2000 A.D., where you finally had to send your thriving community via spacecraft into space and thus into future. Starting out with a single settler and lacking any knowledge or technology, you founded more and more cities over the time and researched for new technological discoveries in order to keep pace with your competitors. As a side-effect, you could even learn a great deal about your achievements. Who would have been able to say what kind of influence "Ceremonial Burial" or "Pottery" have had on our development? In case you did a good job and your people were satisfied with your way of handling things, you were free to continue work on your own gorgeous palace. In order to boost morale and quicken progress, you could set out to erect or research one of the Wonders of the World, such as the "Hanging Gardens" or even the "Women's Suffrage".
Warcraft and diplomacy:
Civ mapThe game's striking feature was that, although military units abounded, you could abstain from any sort of confrontation and win the game with diplomatic means. If a conflict did break loose, you sent ground, sea and later on even air units into the fray. Unfortunately, the fighting system wasn't without fault, since sometimes a pathetic chariot was able to defeat a horde of musketeers. Moreover, the simplistic graphics gave cause for critcism. But, miraculously, all of that didn't diminish the game's charm at all - far from it, the game appealed to the player's sense of command and conquer (so to speak). Almost every challenge ever to appear in a strategy game of the early 1990s had been included into Civilization, ranging from city management over strategic (Is it better to research "The Wheel" or "The Alphabet" first?) and tactical questions (Is it better to attack the strong blue or weak green player first?) to diplomatic tasks (Are tribute payments worth their money?). Civilization was also the first game to reward environmental protection, since you received more points at the end of the game by taking environmental aspects into account.

In 1992

very high


not any more

Low budget

Civ's successors:
Civ progressThe game's success was overwhelming. It probably won every award available throughout the gaming industry and raced up the charts where it stayed for many months. Civilization is considered one the best games ever even today. In the wake of this classic, several sequels were published: CivNet and Civilization for Windows (both 1994) were modified versions of the original program, while Colonization (1995) was set in the time of the Pilgrim Fathers. When Civilization II was released in 1996, the Civ fever gripped the gaming community anew: more units, tactics, strategies, and diplomatics helped the game to become immortal.
Sid Meier:
The guy behind all these superlatives is Sid Meier, who had created another two classics with Pirates! and Railroad Tycoon before. Actually, every game published by Sid became a (commercial) success, despite the fact that none of his games featured state-of-the-art graphics. After having finished his work on Civilization II, Sid left Microprose to co-found his own company Firaxis. Their first game, Alpha Centauri, couldn't deny its Civ roots and proved once more that he's among the most innovative heads of the industry. By the way, the project Brian Reynolds and Sid are currently working on is called ... Civilization III!
© 2000 by CE